27 January 2016

Muslims are not like us, race equality chief says

Muslim communities are unlike others in Britain and the country should accept that they will not integrate in the same way, the former head of the equalities watchdog has said.

Trevor Phillips said that it was disrespectful to suppose that Muslim communities would change, claiming that we should accept that they “see the world differently from the rest of us”.

“Continuously pretending that a group is somehow eventually going to become like the rest of us is perhaps the deepest form of disrespect,” he told a meeting at the Policy Exchange think tank on Monday night.

“Because what you are essentially saying is the fact that they behave in a different way, some of which we may not like, is because they haven’t yet seen the light. It may be that they see the world differently from the rest of us.”

Mr Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, added: “Part of the integration process is for the rest of us to grasp that people aren’t going to change their views simply because we are constantly telling them that basically they should be like us.” [The Times (£)] Read more

26 January 2016

PC brigade 'failing victims of sex abuse': Minorities tsar slams liberals over Muslim criminals

David Cameron's integration tsar has blasted 'hand-wringing' liberals for failing to tackle forced marriage and other abuses in Muslim communities.

Louise Casey said some officials were 'so wrapped up in political correctness' they ignored shameful scandals which led to vulnerable women and children being harmed.

Miss Casey, who chaired the Government's troubled families unit and led an investigation into social services in Rotherham – where Asian sex gangs had abused as many as 1,600 children – is carrying out a review of how to boost integration in the most isolated communities.

Commissioned by the Prime Minister, this is looking at how to help migrants learn English, as well as other ways of boosting women's job prospects.

But Miss Casey claimed one issue was that the liberal elite had turned a blind eye to problems within some Muslim groups.

Speaking to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London last night, she said: 'We let forced marriage happen because we were so wrapped up in political correctness and wanting our multicultural Britain. We forgot to talk about equality and we forgot to talk about equal rights.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1605 votes] The problem we have is that since 1997 we have had nothing but "hand-wringing" liberals running the country!

[2ND 1395] The liberal elite are clueless, and that includes Mr Cameron who is one of those "hand-wringing" liberals himself who has promoted PC non stop since he came into power. I don't like hypocrites.

[3RD 1246] At last someone in authority is pointing this out, even if it is a little late. Not like her boss isn't one of those 'hand-wringing liberals' himself though. We need a proper Conservative government to sort this country out and put British people first. [Mail on Sunday] Read more

Can schools ban the veil?

No-one knows how many adult women in the UK wear the full face covering known as the niqab.

But it is a minority of British Muslim women, many prefer to simply cover their hair with the hijab.

Uniform rules in state-funded schools in England tend to reflect the sensibilities of local communities, as each school determines its own policy.

Many allow the hijab and adapt their uniforms to accommodate concerns about modesty.

Now, Ofsted says head teachers are coming under pressure to relax rules that exclude full face coverings.

It will not say where or how many schools are facing this pressure, but the chief inspector of schools in England is massively raising the stakes.

On Tuesday, Sir Michael Wilshaw said a school could be judged by Ofsted inspectors as inadequate if the wearing of a full face covering was "clearly hindering communication".

It is a line in the sand. [BBC] Read more

Ofsted chief backs schools that restrict 'inappropriate wearing of veil'

School inspectors will be allowed to rate schools as “inadequate” if they let pupils or staff wear full-face veils such as niqabs in their classrooms, according to a policy announced by the chief inspector of schools.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said Ofsted would support heads and principals banning what was described as the “inappropriate wearing” of the veil, in an intervention that was supported by ministers but criticised by Muslim leaders and teaching unions for polarising the issue.

“I am concerned that some heads and principals who are trying to restrict the wearing of the full veil in certain circumstances are coming under pressure from others to relax their policy. I want to assure these leaders that they can rely on my full backing for the stance they are taking,” Wilshaw said.

“Where leaders are condoning the wearing of the face veil by staff members or by pupils when this is clearly hindering communication and effective teaching, they should give consideration to judging the school as inadequate.” [The Guardian] Read more

Ofsted threatens to penalise schools where Muslim veil is worn

Schools will be marked down by Ofsted for the first time if inspectors judge that wearing the veil – by students or teachers – is a "barrier to learning".

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, has on Tuesday written to all inspectors instructing them to mark down institutions where they believe the veil hinders "positive social interaction".

He said that people need to listen to David Cameron’s concerns that “our liberal values, our liberal West values, are protected”. The new rules will affect around 16,000 children and just under 1,000 teachers who currently wear the veil to school.

It comes after the Prime Minister announced that Muslim women can be banned from wearing veils in schools, courts and other British institutions.

Mr Cameron said that he will give his backing to public authorities that put in place “proper and sensible” rules to ban women from wearing face veils in comments which will reignite debates.

The Government is preparing to announce a series of measures designed to stop British Muslims becoming radicalised and traveling to the Middle East to join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). [The Telegraph] Read more

Listen: Damning audio which proves future Lord Mayor Muhammad Afzal called David Cameron an Islamophobe

Birmingham’s future Lord Mayor has been caught on tape labelling David Cameron an Islamophobe at a protest meeting about anti-terror measures - a day after denying saying it.

And Muhammad Afzal, Chairman of the Central Mosque , said the Prime Minister “keeps on talking about extremists, extremists, extremists”, as he questioned claims that up to 700 Islamists had travelled from Britain to fight in Syria.

The Birmingham Mail told on Friday how the future civic leader had attended a protest meeting about the Prevent anti-terror laws and controversial new measures giving Ofsted power to inspect out-of-hours ‘schools’, including madrassas.

Coun Afzal later issued a statement denying he did not back Prevent and claimed his comments had been ‘sensationalised’ and ‘taken out of context’ - while he also denied calling the Prime Minister an Islamophobe, during a telephone call with our reporter.

But a photograph appeared today of him standing alongside a banner saying ‘No to Prevent’ while in our tape recording of the meeting he attacks David Cameron and his Government’s claims about the number of British Muslims travelling abroad to fight in Syria. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

24 January 2016

Islamic school 'suspended a teen boy for talking to a girl'

A Muslim faith school which was rated 'outstanding' by the education watchdog Ofsted has suspended a teenage pupil who is accused of breaching its behaviour policy after he interacted with a female student in a way which amounted to harassment.

Al-Khair secondary school in Croydon, south London, prohibits interaction 'through any medium' between male and female students who are considered 'non-mahrams' (not close relatives).

But a spokesperson denied that the school has a blanket ban on boys and girls talking to each other.

The parent of one pupil told The Sunday Times that the policy of the private school, which won praise by Ofsted for promoting pupils' personal development, was 'nonsense', and that students were not being prepared to integrate in British society.

.... Boys and girls are based in the same school but they are taught in separate classes and any interaction is prohibited. 'Free-mixing' is listed among the 'high-level' offences that could lead to an exclusion, alongside 'drug dealing, stealing, extortion, racism and arson. [Mail on Sunday] Read more

The Observer view on the radicalisation of young British Muslims

How do we combat the radicalisation of young Muslims? This debate is a political minefield, but, like it or not, it is one that ministers have to wade into: 800 Britons have gone to Syria to fight or support Isis since 2012 – and that is probably a conservative estimate; a further 600 have been caught trying to enter.

The prime minister attracted much criticism last week for his announcement that Muslim women must learn English or face deportation as part of measures to combat radicalisation. Some of the criticism was fair, but too much has been unnecessarily kneejerk.

The debate risks being party politicised: those who see it as an opportunity to undermine support for an ethnically diverse Britain; others who see it as an opportunity to lambast what they see as an illiberal government unfairly targeting groups of citizens. [681 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 132 votes] The issues go back a long way. In the early 90s you could see posters for the Young Muslims in Bradford calling for a Muslim Britain. Mention it here, and you get moderated. In the same city, I knew of 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants who spoke no English. Again, when I have mentioned it on CiF, my comments have been deleted.

If there is a wish to counter radicalism, it has to face the facts that multi-culturalism has helped to create a parallel society which interacts in the public sphere (they go to the same shops, work alongside people, etc), but not in the private (little or no intermarriage, or any social interaction). One thing I learned in Bradford was that Ray Honeyford had been trying to push Muslim girls to improve their education, to aim for a career rather just marriage. He was hated for this, and when he (stupidly) published in the Salisbury Review, it was the slip that the community leaders were waiting for.

An honest approach will look at how and why parallel societies, following their own laws and customs, have been allowed to settle, develop and grow in the UK for the last 30 or 40 years. It should look at how official blind eyes have been turned to possible offences in the name of 'cultural sensitivity'. It should look perhaps at how people growing up in such an environment could not be radicalized.

[2ND 105] Why do we have segregated schooling? It seems to me that this notion that children should be hived off into schools designated appropriate according to faith is just a divisive construct. We need all British children to be mixing freely and playing together with their parents interacting with each other. That would be a start.

.... Where are the media debates about this with ordinary British people from varied backgrounds and faiths who can participate in discussions about this? We never hear from the alienated and the angry. If we don't open up the forum for debate and see the representation of all those who need to talk then we are only going to ignore this problem until one day it may become insurmountable.

.... It's time for the rule of law; the outreach programmes; the schools to become the juridical and social embodiment of one for all and all for one. It is a mammoth task and something some of us on the Left have been pointing out for years while others looked at us askance and accused us of everything from paranoia to low grade racism. Sadly, the truth is out, and we must work together to establish a coherent response to a now rather entrenched and knotty problem.

.... Things are really roiling, and it's not a surprise that considerable numbers of people are seriously worried about this. There is a palpable sense of fear in people I talk to about this.

[3RD 93] There is no debate. Embrace civilisation or die ignorant. I for one will not respect any religious group that does not accept women and gays as equals.

End of discussion.

[4TH 92] This article reeks of Guardian whataboutery and offers no solution. In fact everything mentioned here has been discussed to death and the only thing the Guardian can propose is that the government needs to 'do more' and treat 'at risk' muslims with the softest gloves ever.

"How do we combat the radicalisation of young Muslims? This debate is a political minefield."

This debate is a 'political minefield' only to left-wing-loonies, the rest of us are very clear about what this issue is. Most of the readers of this CIF are responsible and open-minded people who have had enough of pussyfooting around this issue by the Guardian.

The simple and brutal truth is that Islam as manifested by a fair few of it's adherents can never co-exists in an enlightened European nation like ours - no matter how much we say otherwise. The sooner we all lay this to bare and move forward the better.

"The debate risks being party politicised: those who see it as an opportunity to undermine support for an ethnically diverse Britain; others who see it as an opportunity to lambast what they see as an illiberal government unfairly targeting groups of citizens."

Do we now Guardian?

"But he was wrong to frame English lessons for Muslim women as an anti-radicalisation measure linked to punitive deportation. This is particularly true given the government’s poor overall record on integration."

How much does this affect people who are not muslim, that would an interesting statistic to see. All non-muslim immigrant communities do fairly well as far as integration is concerned. So successive governments don't have a 'poor overall record'.

"But much of the critique of the government has been misleading and incendiary, attempting to impose a black-and-white filter on a world that exists in shades of grey."

Nope, there is nothing misleading. There is only one thing that needs clarity (none of this black-and-white filter nonsense) and it's that radicalisations only happens in Muslims who have a perceived victimhood complex and something urgently has to be done about it.

Can at least the Observer editorial offer a bit more clarity please and avoid of phrases such as 'nuanced and responsible approach'. [Guardian Cif] Read more

23 January 2016

NUT leaders ‘colluding to undermine anti-terror policies’

Leaders and activists of Britain’s biggest teachers’ union are colluding with Islamic extremists to undermine policies aimed at preventing terror attacks.

Private emails leaked to the Telegraph show that Rob Ferguson, a senior National Union of Teachers (NUT) activist in heavily-Muslim Newham, east London, is working with Mend, an extremist front group, and Cage, the notorious organisation which backed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) killer known as “Jihadi John”.

Mr Ferguson is orchestrating a campaign with Mend to discredit Prevent, the Government initiative which aims to spot signs of radicalisation in young people. A member of the NUT’s ruling national executive, Alex Kenny, and Ian Hale, the NUT’s assistant secretary in Newham, are also involved. [The Telegraph] Read more

22 January 2016

Cameron and Muslim women: a new twist on an old colonial story

Before David Cameron launched himself this week into a critique of the English language skills of Muslim women in the UK, he would have done well to take a tour of Tate Britain’s exhibition Artist and Empire. It’s a deeply unsettling reminder of a past that the British have made an art of half-forgetting.

This is painting by the square metre: huge canvases to demonstrate the struggle and the glory of British expansionary militarism. It’s a reminder that spreading that pink across the globe was a brutally violent process. But it was the undercurrent of erotic thrill to empire that is even more disturbing.

Imperial maps are bordered by large-breasted maidens holding cornucopia brimming with exotic fruits for the conqueror. One portrait of a coy, bare-breasted woman was that of a hostage imprisoned by James Cook in his cabin as part of negotiations with a recalcitrant indigenous people in the Pacific. Empire offered an abundance of available women; in contrast the imperialists’ womenfolk are dressed and presented in domestic settings, safely established under male control as wives and daughters. [1419 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 541 votes] So, an inability to speak English after a decade or more in the country is a good thing, because it is sticking two fingers up to 19th century British colonialism?

[2ND 352] OMG Guardian stop embarrassing yourselves...

[3RD 343 ] This insane article makes me bristle with anger. It seems the Guardian sees racism and imperialism in everything.

Cameron was making a sensible remark about immigrants who can't speak English: if they are to integrate and be financially independent, they need to learn it. It's sensible - really rare thing for Cameron.

"No issue is more likely to incense Muslim families than targeting their mothers and grandmothers; it will be seen as a threatening and unwarranted intrusion into their private domestic lives."

Then they should grow up. Immigrants who refuse to do the minimum and learn at least some English should not be allowed to stay permanently. Other nations have similar policies - for example, Norway.

"In the Muslim homes I have visited it was clear that the women were extremely busy cooking and caring for many family members."

Aren't traditional values lovely? If only white women could be as easily domesticated as the brown ones.

Truly pathetic!

[4TH 332] "In the Muslim homes I have visited it was clear that the women were extremely busy cooking and caring for many family members."

And why shouldn't they be content with that eh..?

[5TH 315] Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims in the UK hail from the same background and were all affected by colonialism. When you study how the communities have progressed there are startling differences (muslims with degrees 20%, Sikhs: 30%, Hindus: 45%). The key issue is the progress made by respective women. The better the women are integrated the better the whole community does. If you stand in the way of progress of women then you suffer. See: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/cmpo/migrated/documents/ethnicityreligion.pdf [Guardian Cif]

Read more

Germans must ban ALCOHOL if they want to prevent further sex attacks and help North Africans integrate, says Muslim group

Germany needs to ban alcohol if it wants to prevent further sexual violence and to help North African migrants integrate into society, a Muslim pressure group has claimed.

Commenting on the Cologne sex-attack controversy, MuslimStern, which has 20,000 followers on Facebook, said its mission was to 'highlight the way the media was using the incidents to promote racism against minorities'.

The group complained that the female victims had brought the unwanted attention to themselves by dressing in a manner that North African men were not accustomed to.

The group claimed: 'You cannot expect to chuck a naked antelope in front of a lion and not expect it to react. It is mind boggling that with so much time spent teaching children about sex at school, they completely forget to pass on this basic biological fact.'

As a consequence of the attacks, they urged the German government to introduce a ban across the country on the consumption of alcohol.

The group also blamed women for getting attacked by inciting the young men.

In one section of the Facebook post, which has since been deleted, the group claims: 'Some women should think about whether it is wise to lightly dressed and drunk, to go between hordes of drunken men. [Daily Mail] Read more

21 January 2016

Chess forbidden in Islam, rules Saudi mufti, but issue not black and white

Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti has ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam, saying it encourages gambling and is a waste of time.

Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh was answering a question on a television show in which he issues fatwas in response to viewers’ queries on everyday religious matters.

He said chess was “included under gambling” and was “a waste of time and money and a cause for hatred and enmity between players”.

Sheikh justified the ruling by referring to the verse in the Qur’an banning “intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and divination”. It is not clear when the fatwa was delivered. [2365 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1003 votes] An honest question: if Saudi Muslims are so against gambling, how come they are so active in horse-racing?

[2ND 683] Yes I can understand how a game that encourages logical thought would be frowned upon by a follower of a magic sky pixie. What an idiotic pronouncement. Plus any religion that classes music as a vice can really fuck off as far as I'm concerned.

[3RD 575] An honest answer - hypocrisy. [The Guardian] Read more

UKIP MEP Calls for End to Muslim Mass Immigration To Britain

.... “Daesh has turned sectarian strife into a core theme of its propaganda and of its actions. They have used it as a tool for recruitment and as an excuse for claiming oil rich lands – not much to do with religion, but a lot about power.”

It is a narrative that’s often repeated by European leaders and parliamentarians. But Mr. Batten, the UKIP member for London, broke ranks yesterday telling his colleagues that Islamic State’s murderous barbarism has everything to do with religion.

“Some say that ISIS represents a perversion of Islam. In fact it represents a literalist interpretation of the Quran,” he said.

“The Quran speaks of making war on infidels, killing infidels, and striking terror into the hearts of infidels. The Quran endorses beheadings, crucifixions and slavery. Even the systematic rape of non-Muslim women is justified by the verse that says: ‘those you have taken with your right hand, you may possess.’

“ISIS represents a revival of the original ethos of the Mohammedan cult that conquered its way up to France before being driven back in the eighth century.

“Thank God, not Allah,” he said, “Most Muslims do not follow this literalist interpretation”. [Breitbart London] Read more

Danish city makes pork mandatory but allows other food

A Danish city has ordered pork to be mandatory on municipal menus, including for schools and daycare centers, with politicians insisting the move is necessary for preserving the country's food traditions and is not an attack on Muslims.

Frank Noergaard, a member of the council in Randers that narrowly approved the decision earlier this week, says it was made to ensure that pork remains "a central part of Denmark's food culture."

Denmark is a major pork producer and it is the most popular meat, but it is forbidden to Muslims and Jews. Most of the asylum-seekers who have arrived in the country in the past months are Muslim.

Noergaard, a member of the anti-immigration, populist Danish People's Party that proposed the council motion, said Thursday that it wasn't meant as a "harassment of Muslims," but added that he had received "several complaints about too many concessions" being made to Muslims in the small, predominantly Lutheran country. [AP] Read more

20 January 2016

Revealed: Private Muslim school in London had books promoting stoning people to death

A private Muslim school has failed its Ofsted inspection after the watchdog found books promoting extreme views, including stoning people to death, in its library.

Inspectors uncovered three texts at Jamiatul Ummah School in Tower Hamlets which promoted illegal punishments and inequality of women, according to their report.

Staff failed to be “sufficiently vigilant” over “inappropriate” material and the books could “unwittingly promot[e] extreme views”, it added. The school said the texts had been removed and the library shut while it audits material.

It is the school’s third failed inspection since October 2014, shortly before Osfsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw identified it as one of six independent Islamic teaching institutions in Tower Hamlets at which more than 1,000 pupils were said to be “at serious risk”. [Evening Standard] Read more

Cologne Imam: Girls Were Raped Because They Were Half Naked And Wore Perfume

Warning women against “adding fuel to the fire”, the Imam of a Salafist Cologne mosque has said the victims of the New Year’s Eve attacks in that city were themselves responsible for their sex assault, by dressing inappropriately and wearing perfume.

Speaking to major Russian channel REN TV, Imam Sami Abu-Yusuf’s remarks came during a 12 minute segment bringing Russians up to date with the latest developments in the migrant invasion of Europe.

Sandwiched between eyewitness-footage of migrant rampages in Cologne, women being sexually assaulted by apparently Arab gangs, and a segment on a surge of interest in self defence courses in Germany the Imam told the interviewer: “we need to react properly, and not to add fuel to the fire”.

Explaining in the view of Salafist Islam why hundreds of women found themselves groped, sexually assaulted and in some cases raped by gangs of migrant men in cities across Germany the Imam said: “the events of New Year’s Eve were the girls own fault, because they were half naked and wearing perfume. It is not surprising the men wanted to attack them. [Dressing like that] is like adding fuel to the fire”. [Breitbart London] Read more

Only Muslim women can reform Islam

A lecturer friend was shocked when a student asked if she could miss class to accompany her mum to hospital. The daughter needed to translate for the mother who had lived in east London for more than 30 years. When my friend wondered how that was possible, the daughter replied: “My dad didn’t want mum to learn English so she never did.”

Sadly, her case is far from unique. Some 22 per cent of Muslim women in the UK – around 190,000 – speak little or no English. That’s not a huge figure in itself, but multiply it by the number of their children and suddenly you have an awful lot of five-year-olds turning up at school without a clue how to talk to their teachers or classmates. Without a clue about the culture of their country.

Shaista Gohir, chair of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, says women tell her that their husbands or in-laws don’t want them to learn English because it will “disturb the status quo”. So you live in the UK, where you get all the benefits of the world’s fifth largest economy, but you can still treat your wives and daughters as if you were back in rural Pakistan. [The Telegraph] Read more

Iraq's oldest Christian monastery destroyed by Islamic State

Satellite images confirm that the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

St Elijah's stood on a hill near the northern city of Mosul for 1,400 years.

But analysts said the images, obtained by the Associated Press, suggested it had been demolished in late 2014, soon after IS seized the city.

A Catholic priest from Mosul warned that its Christian history was "being barbarically levelled".

"We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land," said Father Paul Thabit Habib, who now lives in Kurdish-administered Irbil. [BBC] Read more

Iran bans use of the word ‘wine’ and foreign animal names in books

Iran has banned the use of the word "wine" as well as the names of "foreign animals" and “certain foreign presidents”.

The Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is imposing the ban to counter a “Western cultural onslaught”.

Mohammad Selgi, head of book publishing at the ministry, said: “When new books are registered with us, our staff first has to read them page by page to make sure whether they require any editorial changes in line with promoting the principles of the Islamic revolution, effectively confronting the Western cultural onslaught and censoring any insult against the prophets.

“Words like wine and the names of foreign animals and pets, as well as names of certain foreign presidents are also banned under the new restricting regulations.”

According to BBC Persia, Mr Selgi also spoke out against books on psychology that cite masturbation as a treatment method.

He said: “We will not give the opportunity to keep the books on the market.”

Mr Selgi also said books that were published several years ago and still on the market will be re-evaluated for content that may be contrary to the law. [The Independent] Read more

Jamiatul Ummah School In East London Fails Ofsted Inspection Over Books 'Promoting Stoning People To Death'

A Muslim school in east London has failed an Ofsted inspection after investigators found books in its library that promote "inequality of women and punishments, including stoning to death".

Inspectors found "inappropriate texts" in the Jamiatul Ummah School's library during a "very brief" tour, uncovering three books that "undermine the active promotion of the rule of British law and respect for other people".

The books, an Ofsted report released this month, said: "Promote inequality of women and punishments, including stoning to death, which are illegal in Britain and which do not reflect the school's ethos and integration."

The unannounced investigation at the Tower Hamlets school, which teaches 158 boys aged 11 to 16, was carried out on 25 November, and is the third inspection it has failed since October 2014.

The watchdog was at the all-boys private secondary school - which has annual fees of £3,400 - to assess what progress it had made in implementing an action plan to correct problems it had earlier identified. This was the second assessment. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

19 January 2016

Schools can decide whether to ban full-face veils, says Morgan

The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, has said it is “very much up to schools” if they want to ban the full-face veil, arguing that being able to see a person’s mouth was important for teaching.

Morgan was speaking after the chief schools inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said inspectors had found that religious dress that covered the face sometimes caused communication problems.

David Cameron had said on Monday that he would back institutions with “sensible rules” over Muslims wearing full-face veils, but he ruled out a full public ban.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday, Morgan said: “The prime minister was absolutely right to say, and we have a very clear view in this country, we are not going to tell people what they can and can’t wear; that would cut across the values we are talking about that we want everybody to follow. [1444 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 368 votes] ANOTHER COMMENT SAID: "Just continue stripping people of their freedoms in the name of freedom. Sad"

The "freedom" for a community to segregate itself from the rest of society and essentially create a parallel community though various factors including dress and refusal to speak the host language?

[2ND 222] Symbols of their parents' ideologies should be kept out of schools. Would we accept UKIP t-shirts? No way!

[3RD 217] The full veil has no place in British schools, just as a mini skirt would not be tolerated in Saudi schools. This is not a Muslim country.

[4TH 197] Typical cowardly politician. She should actually lead on this, and say that schools are expected to be full face veil free, and will be failed by Ofsted if they're not.

BTW not one muslim parent I know would have any objection to it either.

Typical cowardly politician. They should also make sex ed compulsory in Primaries up and down the country.

[5TH 194] Nuns don't cover their faces.

[6TH 192] "Going for the French approach of banning an item of clothing, I do not think that’s the way we do things in this country and I do not think that would help."

A mask isn't an item of clothing and face coverings are already banned in Britain. If you are a motorcyclist you have to by law wear a helmet, yet in Banks, Petrol station etc, you are asked to remove it to show your face. Yet Muslim face masks are not worn because of British law only Saudi fashion and they will not be asked to remove them in a Bank of Petrol Station, so do we have one law for all of us? Or different laws for different communities? I think the French have got it right, one Law for ALL. [The Guardian] Read more

City fires new salvo in Denmark's ‘meatball war’

The Randers City Council voted 16-15 on Monday night to require the city’s public institutions to serve pork products.

The vote was part of a long-running debate in Denmark, with one side arguing that Danish values are under attack from multiculturalism and the other side maintaining that the whole situation is a nonexistent issue that has made an problem where there wasn’t one.

The so-called ‘meatball war’ (frikadellekrigen) arguably hit its apex in 2013, when the summer’s slow news cycle was dominated by a debate on whether or not public institutions should bar pork in deference to Muslim children.

While there are no official numbers on how many public institutions that ban pork, in 2013 it was estimated to be about 30 out of 1,719. [The Local] Read more

'The numbers are small': Muslim groups play down issue of veils in schools

The renewed debate over the wearing of full-face veils in schools, either by pupils or teachers, has been greeted with scepticism by some in the Muslim community who say it is a small issue affecting tiny numbers.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council for Britain, could not disguise his frustration. “These issues come up every couple of years,” he said. “Every couple of years there’s a big debate, ‘should we ban it, what should we do?’”

In fact, he said, it was an issue that affected a tiny number. “I’m not aware of any children wearing it. I think the concern they are raising is about teachers wearing it, but the numbers are very, very small.

“The number of women wearing the full-face veil in general is very small. The number of teachers wearing the face veil is even tinier.”

The debate surfaced again this week against a backdrop of David Cameron’s drive to get more Muslim women speaking English and the launch of the government’s Educate Against Hate website. [The Guardian] Read more

Gender segregation: The truth about Muslim women 'forced' to sit away from men

This week David Cameron has backed a ban on Muslim women wearing veils, decreed that Muslim women need to learn English, and latterly, come up with plans to outlaw gender segregation.

The Telegraph understands that as part of plans to stop British Muslims from being radicalised, Tory ministers will ban women from sitting separately from men during meetings in public buildings.

It comes after concerns that certain Muslim organisations are enforcing gender segregation. There have been high profile cases of this, such as last year when Asian men and women were found sitting separately at a rally attended by senior Labour politicians. It is also known to be an ongoing issue at various universities throughout the UK.

.... But gender segregation is not something that only occurs at ‘radical’ events. Batool Al-Toma, director of the New Muslims Project, says: “It’s common in Muslim gatherings. I’ve seen it mainly happen at spiritually led talks, never anything radical – I wouldn’t go to anything radical.” [The Telegraph] Read more

Charity watchdog slams Glasgow Central Mosque elders amid concerns of funding for ultra-orthodox group

SCOTLAND’s biggest mosque has been criticised by charity watchdogs in a damning report over the way the centre has been run by its previous orthodox leaders.

Trustees who wielded power at Glasgow Central Mosque - the country’s largest place of worship - breached their legal duties over many years, according to the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The watchdogs says trustees were making decisions about the running of the charity where they had no power to do so.

The probe follows concerns from Scottish-born reformers that money from the mosque was going to a group which has been accused of promoting Islamic extremism.

The loan of £50,000 to the European HQ of the conservative group Tablighi Jamaat in Dewsbury in 2011 only came to light after the younger generation of liberal Mosque members, who are co-operating with OSCR, effectively took control of the Mosque last year. [heraldscotland] Read more